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North Branch Area Public Schools has taken a major leap forward to expand career pathway options for high school students this year! Working alongside our community college and industry partners, we have transformed the student experience to align with workforce needs. 

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Now that high school football and volleyball teams are in their playoff runs, pro and college football are well underway, major league baseball is soon to begin post-season, and pro hockey and basketball have begun or will soon begin pre-season games, I am reminded that fall is here. Certain…

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During the past 18 months Minnesota judges have, until recently, presided over few in-person hearings in the courtroom, other than jury trials.  Some of the seriousness of the proceedings is lost when hearings are conducted remotely over Zoom.  Parties appear while smoking, eating, wearing a…

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While I consider myself as having a good long-term memory, there are few days in my life that I can recall as vividly as the one 20 years ago Saturday. On that day, our entire world changed as the nation was shaken to the ground, both literally and figuratively.

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VERY FEW FAMILY businesses go longer than three generations. I have been reminded over the years by successful people of a quote, “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” What it comes down to is the first generation works hard, the next generation has it a little easier, and by …

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Well, football season is once again upon us! As a die-hard Vikings fan, I’ve been anxiously awaiting this time of the year with a measure of optimism. I’ve already changed my ringtone to “Skol Vikings,” and switched over to donning my Vikings-themed masks wherever they are required (it’s sad…

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To raise awareness, educate our community, reduce the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s disease and assist families with resources who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease or other related forms of dementia; this month’s article will highlight the opening of the Cambridge Memory Café! 

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I don’t totally trust email. Far too many times I’ve sent something to someone and after not hearing back from them, I come to discover it was never received. I know this also can happen with “snail” mail (which is worse considering it could be days or weeks before discovering the problem), …

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I’ve mentioned in this column a few times how I don’t really mind mowing the lawn, assuming the weather isn’t too stifling hot and humid. In fact, I don’t mind doing it so much last summer I volunteered to mow the lawn at my apartment. My landlord frequently leaves for work around 6 a.m. and…

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We continue to think big and our new strategic plan is going to take us to new heights! One important aspect of our strategic plan is our core values. During our strategic planning process, one community participant shared, “every organization has core values, whether they are written or not…

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What makes North Branch Area Public Schools outstanding starts with our priority of building positive and supportive relationships. “Welcome Days,” instituted last year, provides a soft start to the school year and puts relationships first. 

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A FEW WEEKS ago, Kathy and I were invited to a brewery in Woodbury to celebrate the life of Robert MacGregor Shaw. We got to know Bob and Virginia Shaw through the Minnesota Newspaper Association where he was manager. Having served on the board of directors of the association, we got to know…

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From kindergarten through our senior year, most of us woke up in the morning and headed for school. We walked a block, we walked a mile. We rode bikes and buses. We were dropped off from expensive, luxury cars, or practical, respectable cars, and old, rusty pick-up trucks. We wore ill-fittin…

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As a Drug & Alcohol counselor, it’s my job to keep up with the latest trends in the drug world. As a parent, I worry that my son and his friends are being faced with new and dangerous things every day. One of the latest things to hit our local smoke shops is called Delta-8 THC. Have you …

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Several weeks ago, I mentioned several “long story shorts” within my column about my experience in trying to find a hospital with room to take me for a kidney stone removal (“Medical trade bait,” July 8 edition). Well, now I’d like to expound on one of those stories.

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To raise awareness, educate our community, reduce the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s disease and assist families with resources who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease or other related forms of dementia; this month’s article will discuss cultivating a mindset of patience in our care…

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DID YOU KNOW there is one county in the State of Minnesota where graduating students in public and private schools get a two‑year free tuition to a community college? 

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Breastfeeding benefits babies and families. The Isanti County Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program is celebrating Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August to emphasize the importance of breastfeeding and help pregnant and new moms participating in WIC reach their breastfeeding goals. 

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Did you happen to notice our CIHS Bluejacket Marching Band taking to the streets in the Isanti Parade and the Forest Lake Parade in early July? Our students have been working so hard to prepare for their parade performances. There is nothing like the sound of a marching band to bring joy to …

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Last January I went in for a routine eye exam. Naturally, all the typical things were checked, including my blood pressure. As she read the numbers, the assistant commented that my pressure was a little high. While not being alarming, it was noteworthy because I have typically had lower bloo…

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OVER THE LONG Fourth of July holiday, people were getting out of town with a vengeance, traveling to their cabin, their favorite camping park, or visiting with friends and families.

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As we begin to round the corner into August, back to school energy is brewing! We have been working to update our Strategic Plan to take us to new heights! We began this important work by engaging staff, high school students and community partners in our high school redesign. We have also me…

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The 2021 Olympics (or is it the 2020 Olympics, just a year later?) will officially kick off this Friday. Naturally, a sports fanatic like myself always looks forward to this event, whether it’s the Summer or Winter version. But this year, I’m not 100% certain how much I will get into this pa…

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Year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most challenging years of all time due to a major pandemic. Despite all the odds, the City of North Branch embraced the challenging times with resilience and remained open for the public, performing all its normal functions without causing disr…

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Since I have Target’s app on my phone, each Sunday I get an email alerting me to their weekly ad. Like many retailers, they’ve started relying heavily on online promotion of their specials and less on paper inserts in publications (which is actually really bad news for us newspapers, but tha…

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Some serious ground was broken on Sunday evening, June 27, as about 23 men met at the Braham High School gym to resume the playing of open gym basketball. I was the oldest; nothing new there! Tyler Eklund, an about-to-be-eighth-grader in Braham, was the youngest. My estimate is that everyone…

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Last week I had a bit of a medical issue. Long story short, I have a kidney stone that just won’t pass on its own, forcing it to be removed via a procedure. The diagnosis wasn’t all that complicated, but the process I went through wound up being much more complex.

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A year ago when we were doing our first Readers Choice Best of Isanti-Chisago, Kanabec and Pine County contests, a story was shared with me. The sales consultant had met with one of their customers to talk about advertising in the section where we were publishing the names of the winners of …

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My family and I are spending our second full summer here as residents and it has been incredible! Last week friends and family visiting to celebrate our wedding anniversary walked down to Central Park to take in Concerts in the Park and it was amazing! It’s so nice to see so many of you out …

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Few things inspire people to achieve great things more than seeing others like themselves who have done it. With that in mind we have started a new feature at the North Branch Area Public Schools Facebook (www.facebook.com/nbapschools) called Alumni Spotlight.

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Last Saturday was the final high school sports event for the 2020-2021 school year, with the running of the state track and field meet. This time of year is always a little bitter-sweet for me. As I’ve said before, I am glad to be getting a little time to catch my breath after running all ar…

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In previous columns, I’ve told you about the rabbits that play their silly yard games, squirrels that race rings around the trees, and birds that use their frequent-flyer miles to empty the feeders. However, now that baby rabbits and little squirrels have joined the summertime frolic, the vo…

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You may have heard in the media that a criminal defense attorney has made a motion for a mistrial or a judge has granted a mistrial. As a part of a new Minnesota judge’s training there has been a mandatory mock trial exercise before a jury of law students and 2 veteran attorneys which is int…

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There can be no doubt that this school year caused both families and school districts to think about education differently. Implementation of our 2020-21 Safe Learning Plan was guided by a value for flexibility and choice for families to decide what is best for each child: distance learning …

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Come out to Central Park (6250 Main Street) for FREE concerts on Tuesday evenings, 7 p.m. There will be a variety of activities beginning at 6 p.m. including a bounce house, yard games, water features and chalk art! There will also be a book reading each night and a free copy of it provided …

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As I look out at the crowd of people before my eyes, I realize that there are many of you that I have not seen since last March. This year has been one of the first years where I have felt disconnected from my classmates, teachers, and school. For anyone who has also struggled with a feeling…

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Wow, I never thought that the sight of all of you clumped together in the gym would be so exciting, but here we are, over a year after all of our lives were seemingly put on hold and I could not be happier to celebrate our accomplishment, reunited once again. I remember the moment in element…

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Good Afternoon Members of the school board, Superintendent Paul, Principal McDonough, Assistant Principal Stevens, staff members, friends, families and graduates. Thank you all for being here today on this momentous occasion. As we all know, this past year we have lived amidst a global pande…